Saturday, July 16, 2011

Andy's Back Surgery

Andy's Surgery Site

Andy and I went to the NCSU vet school for another appointment. First, we were going to have an MRI done on him. That alone would cost around $1500. Before I left, the vet (Gallagher) spoke to me about contingencies and prices. Gallagher was a nice enough guy, but the ease and fluidity he could rattle off prices was a little off-putting and seemed a little mercenary. (I realize full disclosure is important but still. . .) He said after the MRI, he would be able to determine where the injury was and subsequently where they could operate if that was possible.

I hugged my Baby Boy and went home. (I think I had to pay some money upfront.) Several hours later, Dr. Gallagher called and my mom answered. At first, he spoke to her about the MRI results. My mom told me to get the other cordless phone so we could all speak and listen. I’m sure Dr. Gallagher thought the arrangement a 40 year old man and his mom had with a dog was weird. Even I think it’s a little weird. Dr. Gallagher told us where Andy’s back problem was, mentioning the vertebrae in particular.

He said surgery was a good option and gave us an estimate for the procedure. Sum total, the price amounted to over $3000. I quipped “A good thing about having multiple owners is splitting the bill.” We laughed and then got down to specifics. We gave the authorization for the surgery, scheduled for the next day.

The critical moment, the vet said, after the surgery was the day after surgery. Whether the dog was able to stand would be a critical issue. If the dog couldn’t stand, then the surgery did not work. My mom called the vet school the day after the surgery. They had good news. Andy was able to stand on his own and he was doing well. They said he was such a sweet dog and a good patient. Maybe they say this to all the owners. People often treat their dogs like kids and all people think their kids are special. But I think in this case, Andy was one of the sweetest dogs they treated.

Andy stayed at the vet for 6 days. I picked him up on a Monday. I spoke to Dr. Gallagher in the lobby for a couple of minutes and went over what medicines Andy had to take and what he could do and not do. I gave Dr. Gallagher the Bottom’s Up leash and shortly after, he brought Andy to me. I don’t think Dr. Gallagher had any problems using the leash.

Andy didn’t recognize me at first nor did he get excited. He was doped up pretty good. He kept marching forward even after Dr. Gallagher handed me the leash. Andy had a major surgery and needed all the opiates he could get. His eyes were a little dull and glassed over. He also smelled a little ‘gamey.’ I put him in my car and went home. Andy was going to live.

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